Two-Time Reigning Champ Moves to No. 1 in Mello Yello Points Race

August 9, 2020 -- After a couple of recent missteps, Steve Torrence raced back into the Mello Yello spotlight Sunday, driving his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster into the winners’ circle at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals and moving into second place in points, 83 behind veteran Doug Kalitta.

For the two-time reigning NHRA Top Fuel Champion, his third trip to Lucas Oil Raceway in the last five weeks proved to be a charm.  After losing to his dad, Billy, in the semifinals of the E3 Spark Plugs Nationals and in the first round of the Lucas Oil Summernationals, the talented Texan was able to avoid another family feud en route to his 38th tour victory and 30th in the last four-plus seasons.

Facing off against No. 1 qualifier and close friend Terry McMillen in the final round, Torrence used a massive reaction time advantage to earn his first tour victory since last February even though his 4.273 second time not only was his slowest of the weekend, it was .120 of a second slower than McMillen. 

At the finish, Torrence didn’t even know he had won until he was informed of the outcome by a track official.  The final margin was a scant .06 of a second.  The difference came at the start where the champ forged a .180 of a second advantage over an apparently distracted McMillen.

The No. 2 qualifier, Torrence got a free pass in the first round when opponent Luigi Novelli had mechanical issues.  In round two, he took out rookie sensation Justin Ashley before stopping Leah Pruett, whose car was quickest on race day at 3.749 seconds, in the semifinals.

“I’m thankful for these Capco boys, thankful to hoist another Wally (the iconic NHRA winner’s trophy named for the organization’s late founder Wally Parks),” Torrence said.  “It’s a blessing to be able to come out here and do this, do what we love, and it was especially good to see a few more fans. 

“I know that we’re limiting the number of people because of COVID-19,” said the 37-year-old cancer survivor, “but this is a fan-driven sport and I’ll just be glad when we’re able to welcome the whole group back again.”

Meanwhile, Billy Torrence was forced to the sidelines with a mechanical issue that manifested itself on the burnout preceding a second-round match with McMillen.  As a result, the founder and CEO of Texas-based Capco Contractors, slipped back to fourth place in points.

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